Easter Surprises at Brands Hatch!!!
Last weekend 16th 17th April the opening round of the 2022 BTRC took place at the famous Kent race circuit Brands Hatch. With a capacity entry of twenty trucks signed up for the season the stage was set for a great opening event. As usual all the BTRC participants had the opportunity to participate in the two test sessions on the Friday. Both Stuart and Michael to the opportunity to put to the test the over winter truck modifications and all seemed to be working well.
On the Saturday morning it was time to get down to business in the qualification session that is now more important than ever because the fastest two laps of every driver now dictate’s the starting order of race one and race two. Things for both Team Oliver drivers didn’t go to plan, Michael’s truck developed a power steering problem on the out lap meaning he had to retire, and Stuart’s truck developed a fault in the engine management software, reducing his engine power to eco mode, resulting in Stuart posting his fastest lap time 6th fastest overall and his second fastest lap 9th fastest overall.
The start grid for race one was not ideal, Stuart started from sixth place on row 3 and Michael was at the very back, however in true Oliver style as soon as the start lights went out Stuart made haste to move forward in the order and Michael did the same, by mid race both were going well Stuart was up into third and Michael was in tenth, with plenty action throughout by the closing stages of the race Stuart was through into second place and Michael was up into ninth, these positions they held until the chequered flag.
For race two Stuart started on the grid further back in ninth place and Michael again started from the back, when the lights went out Stuart was struggling once again with engine power issues and initially dropped back then fought throughout the race to move up the order to finish in seventh place, Michael with his reoccurring steering problem fought hard throughout and crossed the finish line in tenth place.
Sunday morning the team were hopeful the truck performance issues had been resolved and with the grandstands full and the sun shining the tea were hoping for great things. Race three saw Stuart starting from seventh and Michael from ninth place on the grid. Again, when the start lights went out both drivers soon made haste to move up the order, then unfortunately three laps into the race Stuart’s truck was struck hard in the side from another truck removing the brake water tanks, after a short visit to the pits Stuart re-joined the race but had to settle for last spot over the line, Michael kept up the pressure and crossed the finish line in eighth.
Following race three the team worked hard to replace all the overheated brake components to make Stuart’s truck ready for race four. This time Stuart started from second place off the front row of the grid and Michael started from eighth place. When the start lights went out Stuart didn’t delay taking the lead and was well ahead within the first half of the opening lap, however because of two trucks ending in the gravel trap on Paddock Hill the red flags came out. Not to disappoint on the restart Stuart did the self and same and took an early race lead that he comfortably held to win the race in true Team Oliver style. Michael’s truck unfortunately re developed its steering problems causing him to retire from the race.
Race five the last truck race of the weekend saw Michael’s truck parked in the paddock due to a terminal problem and Stuart following his previous race win and the reverse grid format meant he started from the back of the grid. When the race got underway Stuart as expected again didn’t delay moving up the race order despite his truck still experiencing electrical problems, by the chequered flag Stuart managed to get up to ninth place.
In summary both drivers experienced a challenging weekend in many ways, but within Stuart still managed to secure a second-place finish and a race win. Between now and the next round at Pembrey on 7th 8th May it is sure the team will be working hard to rectify the trucks performance problems.